Week six of Gamers8 rocks audience with sold-out show

A sold-out show featuring Russ, Alan Walker, and Saudi artists Jeed and Ntitled, along with Disco Misr, in Riyadh Boulevard City kicked off Gamers8 festival. (Supplied)
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A sold-out show featuring Russ, Alan Walker, and Saudi artists Jeed and Ntitled, along with Disco Misr, in Riyadh Boulevard City kicked off Gamers8 festival. (Supplied)
A sold-out show featuring Russ, Alan Walker, and Saudi artists Jeed and Ntitled, along with Disco Misr, in Riyadh Boulevard City kicked off Gamers8 festival. (Supplied)
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A sold-out show featuring Russ, Alan Walker, and Saudi artists Jeed and Ntitled, along with Disco Misr, in Riyadh Boulevard City kicked off Gamers8 festival. (Supplied)
A sold-out show featuring Russ, Alan Walker, and Saudi artists Jeed and Ntitled, along with Disco Misr, in Riyadh Boulevard City kicked off Gamers8 festival. (Supplied)
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A sold-out show featuring Russ, Alan Walker, and Saudi artists Jeed and Ntitled, along with Disco Misr, in Riyadh Boulevard City kicked off Gamers8 festival. (Supplied)
A sold-out show featuring Russ, Alan Walker, and Saudi artists Jeed and Ntitled, along with Disco Misr, in Riyadh Boulevard City kicked off Gamers8 festival. (Supplied)
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A sold-out show featuring Russ, Alan Walker, and Saudi artists Jeed and Ntitled, along with Disco Misr, in Riyadh Boulevard City kicked off Gamers8 festival. (Supplied)
A sold-out show featuring Russ, Alan Walker, and Saudi artists Jeed and Ntitled, along with Disco Misr, in Riyadh Boulevard City kicked off Gamers8 festival. (Supplied)
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A sold-out show featuring Russ, Alan Walker, and Saudi artists Jeed and Ntitled, along with Disco Misr, in Riyadh Boulevard City kicked off Gamers8 festival. (Supplied)
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Updated 23 August 2022

Week six of Gamers8 rocks audience with sold-out show

Week six of Gamers8 rocks audience with sold-out show
  • Saudi artists Jeed and Ntitled join gaming festival’s star-studded line-up
  • The performance on Thursday was Walker’s third in the Kingdom

RIYADH: Week six of Gamers8 kicked off with a sold-out show featuring Russ, Alan Walker, and Saudi artists Jeed and Ntitled, along with Disco Misr, in Riyadh Boulevard City.
“I was here for Formula E, that was the first time. After that I was here for the PUBG event, and this time I am here for Gamers8,” Walker told Arab News.
“I love traveling and seeing the world, and last time we had a lot more time to go out and explore Riyadh. We had a lot of fun and felt so warmly welcomed that we did not hesitate to come back,” the Norwegian DJ said.
The performance on Thursday was Walker’s third in the Kingdom, and he played some of his biggest hits, including “Lily” and “Darkside,” as the audience cheered along.
“Since the first time that I have come here I have always been surprised and didn’t know what to expect,” he said.
“When we were here for the first and second time, it was just high energy and great. I just felt the love and passion from the Saudi audience, and I am super happy to be back.”
Walker said that he created a special show for Riyadh. “For today, I have tried to plan more of a different show because I am also preparing for a show I am doing in Norway. I wanted to try out some new stuff and a new way of mixing, keep it high energy.

“I have tried to sneak in some gaming songs and, of course, a lot of my songs are huge within the gaming community, so there are a lot of gaming references.”
Walker highlighted his openness to collaborating with artists from the region to create new music.
“It could be amazing to do a crossover or just, in general, do a collaboration with a Middle Eastern artist because my arms are open to working with anyone and I think it could be incredible,” he said.
Walker ended his interview with some advice for young artists pursuing a career in music.
“What I know and will always say is, find yourself, find what represents you as an artist and not necessarily try to peruse what everybody else is doing. Find your sound, your image and something that will make the fans connect to you,” he said.
Another international artist, Russ, took to the stage in the penultimate performance of the night, singing hits such as “Pull the Trigger,” “What They Want,” and “Entertained.”
Before leaving the stage he thanked the Kingdom for supporting his music.
“Saudi, I just want to say, thank you to all the fans and thank you for all of the love you have shown me.
“You all were really like my first fans seven years ago, you all really changed my life, Saudi Arabia really changed my life, I appreciate all of the love and support.”
He added: “I love you all forever and I am always going to come back to Saudi. Thank you, Riyadh.”
Two 17-year-old friends, Rola Kanafani and Jowelle Al-Salti, attended the concert to see Russ perform.
“We know that he came here before; we want to know why he comes to this country more than other artists,” Al-Salti said.
“I feel like it’s a place of respect,” she added.
This was the first concert the two friends have attended as a part of Gamers8.
“We are here to have fun and, hopefully, it is going to be a great time,” Kanafani told Arab News.
Saudi Arabian rapper Jeed blew away the packed NXT LVL crowd at Gamers8 with favorites including “Everything Different” and “Sweet.” A potential new release, “Private,” ended the powerful set.
The Gamers8 festival is bringing international music artists to Riyadh for the eight-week event. Artists will perform each weekend for fans and participants. The seventh week of Gamers8 will kick off on Aug. 25 with performances from the Engineers, Lebanese singer Myriam Fares, Black Eyed Peas, and DJ Snake.


Techno revolution: DNA works to take the underground scene public in KSA

Techno revolution: DNA works to take the underground scene public in KSA
Updated 9 sec ago

Techno revolution: DNA works to take the underground scene public in KSA

Techno revolution: DNA works to take the underground scene public in KSA
  • In a trend to publicize the growing party scene within the Kingdom, DNA is one of the few organizations working to shed light on the Saudi techno scene

 

RIYADH: The DNA event series took the underground party scene public with its inaugural event headlining Belgian DJ Marhu, becoming the first entertainment brand to promote harder techno music at the Biennale Foundation in Diriyah on Friday.

The company was founded by Mohammed Alqumri, Mohammed Bahaidrah, known by his DJ name B-Hydra, and fellow DJ and producer Erizo.

In a trend to publicize the growing party scene within the Kingdom, DNA is one of the few organizations working to shed light on the Saudi techno scene under the theme ”Underground is in our DNA.”

Going commercial when it comes to the music industry usually means catering to the public’s taste. Instead, DNA kept the event true to the underground feel, with just a few watering holes and a makeup station on the venue’s exterior, and the real party awaiting inside.

Underground techno means real music for real people. Instead of selling out on big names, DNA aimed to highlight the local talent found in Saudi while also focusing on emerging international acts.

The night was set in motion by Jeddah-native Mariam Arab, who was inspired by classical artists Beethoven and Chopin from an early age. That influence allowed her to create a unique sound, paralleling the two genres’ melodies.

Arab’s set was followed by a back-to-back (b2b) performance by local DJs B-Hydra, and Psykey, who also played together recently at Desert Sound’s Techno Therapy event at the same venue. The two acts enticed the crowd with deep melodic grooves and psychedelic sounds.

To follow, DJ BiGG3 took the stage to combine euphoric trance and the hard energy of techno. The artist first took an interest in electronic music at 16 while watching paragliding videos.

Intrigued, he attended his first festival, which happened to feature renowned Dutch DJ Tiesto, who inspires his own sound to this day. He began mixing his music in 2014 until he finally found his unique sound.

“It’s not only about techno music, what matters for me is good music,” he told Arab News.

After coming back from studying abroad, he was disappointed to find there was no space for techno music in the region. It was only in the past few years that the underground scene grew its roots.

DNA created a home for acid and industrial music lovers, open to all.

“This music is bringing everyone together. They’re all on the same beat, you can say. It’s the atmosphere, it’s the vibe all together coming in one place. I can feel that everyone is communicating with everyone, loving each other. It’s amazing,” he said.

While there is a plethora of music events booming all over the region, the DJ believes that the crowd is what really makes this event stand out.

“What makes DNA special, besides the great DJs, (is having) the best people together attending the event, the great community, having great sound, making the production so great for the people to enjoy and remember,” BiGG3 said.

Echoing with “squelching” synthesizer textures, the venue lit up as the anticipated headliner Marhu took the stage. The crowd cheered as the DJ delivered an entrancing performance, demonstrating her aggressive and rhythmic performance.

As one of Belgium’s most promising producers, promoted by electronic music news platform Beatportal’s radar earlier this year as an “emerging act,” she aims to take her acid-driven and minimalistic sound international.

After coming to the Kingdom for the first time for the show, she was surprised by the demand in the region.

“I had no expectations about a big techno scene like this. I got a lot of engagements and messages on my profile and I realized that there were real demands for these kinds of events,” she told Arab News.

“It really warms my heart because I didn’t expect so many people to listen to techno music, especially acid.”

What makes DNA unique is its dedication to maintaining the simplicity and minimalist feels of underground parties within the raw grunge scene, while also commercializing and promoting the transcendent techno sound.

“It’s such an honor to be one of the first legal events in Saudi Arabia and to be part of the beginning of this freedom. For me, techno means a lot of things and I’m really happy it’s taking a big level of attention,” Marhu said.

American DJ and Saudi resident Erizo ended the night, concluding his first public event in Saudi as a founder along with his partners.

“It’s something that’s never been public here, and now we have the opportunity to bring it and expose it. Now, they actually have a place to go and express themselves. That’s what we’re providing. We’re providing that niche with the harder techno that no one else is really doing,” he told Arab News.

As someone who has collaborated and performed all over the world, Erizo expressed his interest in the growing scene and cultural shift in the country.

“It’s kind of cool to see it in this transition that Saudi is going through with entertainment, the entertainment industry. Being a part of that is really nice,” he said.


Saudi foreign minister and Blinken discuss relations during call

Saudi foreign minister and Blinken discuss relations during call
Updated 01 October 2022

Saudi foreign minister and Blinken discuss relations during call

Saudi foreign minister and Blinken discuss relations during call

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan received a phone call from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said on Saturday.

During the call, they reviewed aspects of relations between the Kingdom and the US, and ways to strengthen and develop them in various fields of cooperation.

The two sides also discussed regional and international developments and the most prominent issues of common interest.


French-Saudi agreements signal ‘beginning of new era of cooperation,’ says French ambassador

French-Saudi agreements signal ‘beginning of new era of cooperation,’ says French ambassador
Updated 01 October 2022

French-Saudi agreements signal ‘beginning of new era of cooperation,’ says French ambassador

French-Saudi agreements signal ‘beginning of new era of cooperation,’ says French ambassador
  • Saudi Arabia hosts 150,000 French speakers and 500 teachers of the French language in various institutions
  • French presence in the Kingdom is marked by a network of schools in Riyadh, Jeddah and Alkhobar

DUBAI: On the occasion of the launch of the new French Cultural Season in Saudi Arabia, French Ambassador to the Kingdom Ludovic Pouille hosted an evening celebrating French-Saudi cultural dialogue at the French Embassy in Riyadh.

“You make French culture present in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said Pouille, addressing an audience of artists, entrepreneurs and officials.

The ambassador hailed the joint effort by France and Saudi Arabia to enable the success of cultural events in the Kingdom. “I want to thank our Saudi partners and friends, artists, professors, entrepreneurs and officials from the Saudi government for their contribution in strengthening on a daily basis our cultural relationship,” he added.

Among the participants were partners from the EU, Francophone countries, the Alliance Franҫaise d’Arabie Saoudite led by Zaher Al-Munajjed and the French Embassy’s team led by Catherine le Thomas.

Saudi Arabia hosts 150,000 French speakers and 500 teachers of the French language in various institutions. The French presence in the Kingdom is marked by a network of schools in Riyadh, Jeddah and Alkhobar, making education one of the primary elements on which the two nations collaborate.

 

 

As part of its Vision 2030, the Kingdom has initiated large-scale events enabling its development as a culture, education, tourism and sports hub on an international level. These events include Riyadh Season, Jeddah Season, AlUla Season, the Red Sea International Film Festival, the Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale and the upcoming Islamic Arts Biennale in Jeddah.

“We are all very lucky to live in a thrilling context in which Saudi Arabia is rapidly opening up and exploring new directions for its future. The Kingdom is now witnessing what President (Emmanuel) Macron called a ‘cultural revolution’ during his visit to Jeddah,” said the ambassador.

The new French Cultural Season in Saudi Arabia is a promising one, with events starting in October with the celebration of the 20th anniversary of French-Saudi cooperation in the field of archaeology. The event is a two-day symposium that will see the participation of the 15 French archaeological missions collaborating with Saudi archaeologists across the Kingdom in the Farasan Islands, Hegra and AlUla, among other locations.

The second event in the pipeline is “Digital November,” which is aimed at bringing art and technology together. A series of tournaments, workshops and other activities centered on esports and e-games will be featured.

Other cultural cooperation projects will involve music, cinema, fashion, design and poetry, with the annual Night of Poetry to be held in December.

Franco-Saudi cooperation is also evident through the Kingdom’s giga-projects — such as the development of AlUla — that will shape the country for decades to follow.

AfAlula, the French Agency for the Development of AlUla, is collaborating with the Royal Commission for AlUla to develop the region “based on an intergovernmental agreement signed in April 2018 during Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Paris,” Pouille said.

The AlUla project is the first of a series of initiatives that aim to reinforce the ties between the two countries.

Since the French president’s visit to Jeddah in December 2021, several agreements have been signed, including one for Villa Hegra, an ambitious institution of contemporary art that will enable the Kingdom to build a creative and artistic hub, the first of its kind in the Middle East.

The agreements signal the “beginning of a new era of cooperation between France and Saudi Arabia,” according to the ambassador.

This story originally appeared on Arab News en Français.


Saudi Border Guards seize 300 kilograms of narcotic hashish in Jazan 

Saudi Border Guards seize 300 kilograms of narcotic hashish in Jazan 
Updated 01 October 2022

Saudi Border Guards seize 300 kilograms of narcotic hashish in Jazan 

Saudi Border Guards seize 300 kilograms of narcotic hashish in Jazan 

RIYADH: Border guards in Saudi Arabia’s Jazan region have thwarted an attempt to smuggle 300 kilograms of narcotic hashish. 
Initial legal procedures have been completed and the drugs were seized and handed over to the relevant authority, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Saudi Arabia has been cracking down on attempts to smuggle drugs into and out of the Kingdom, with authorities saying they would continue to stop all attempts to put the public at harm.


Saudi ministry wins 2 communication awards in UAE

Saudi ministry wins 2 communication awards in UAE
Updated 01 October 2022

Saudi ministry wins 2 communication awards in UAE

Saudi ministry wins 2 communication awards in UAE
  • 53 candidates were shortlisted in 19 award classes

SHARJAH, UAE: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development won two accolades at the 9th Sharjah Government Communication Awards in the UAE.

The ministry scooped awards in the categories for best systems in government communication in the Arab world, and best government communication initiative to empower women globally.

Fifty-three candidates were shortlisted in 19 award classes, with the Saudi ministry recognized for the methodology used in the implementation of its projects, the impact and results achieved, the effective use of technology and media to reach target audiences, and its innovative and proactive visions.

The ministry’s assistant minister for shared services, Mohammed bin Nasser Al-Jasser, said the awards success was down to the hard work of employees.

He added that the ministry sought to create an effective communication media system capable of keeping pace with the rapid changes taking place in the sectors it supervised while responding to the digital transformation that had seen a transformation in government media over recent years.